Early life

Victoria Pendleton was born on September 24  in Bedfordshire, England. Her star sign is Libra - the sign of balance - so it was perhaps no surprise that she could ride a bike as soon as she could walk. Indeed, she seemed destined to be an Olympic cyclist from the moment she was born.

Victoria's father, Max Pendleton, was also a passionate cyclist and competed in races. He even chose a job as a chef to allow him more time to pursue his love of cycling. He had success in various events, but never would he reach the heights that his daughter Victoria would scale - gold medals at consecutive Olympic Games and a string of world titles.

Scroll down for glamour picture, Victoria Pendleton's boyfriend and video

Olympic champion cyclist Victoria Pendleton



Victoria's twin brother Alex also loved cycling, and the pair of them would race earth other on their push bikes. The family would cycle for many miles together as they went on holidays across Europe, staying at youth hostels along the way. Clearly, Victoria was developing a love for cycling, too. And this is where her competitive streak surely began.

By the time Victoria was a teenager she was competing in various races - and leaving the others behind in the dust. Already aged just 13 she was attracting the attention of talent scouts from the national team and it wouldn't be long before she was representing her country in the national cycling side. However, although she could have chosen to pursue professional cycling full-tim at this point, Victoria could obviously see how important an education would be not just for her life, but for a career as a cyclist, too. She chose to study Sports and Exercise Science at university and completed the course as the proud owner of a degree. This would prove influential in her training as a world champion, but also forge a common ground with the man she would fall in love with and spark a ugly fall out with Team GB colleagues.

Victoria Pendleton shows off her gold medal from the London 2012 Olympics

Gold medals

Victoria won a string of titles in international competitions and was clearly a bright prospect for the future. She attended the Athens Olympics in 2004 but didn't get on the medal podium. Yet despite this, she was still only in her early 20s and lacked the experience needed to be a world champion when there were so many excellent riders in the world.

The next four years would prove to be some of the most successful and hard-working of her life, taking gold at the world championships and Commonwealth games. Finally, she arrived at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 where she beat her rival, the Australian cyclist Anna Meares and took gold in the women's sprint.

Shortly after this incredible high, Victoria revealed that she was in a relationship with the Team GB coach Scott Gardner. Such romances are forbidden by Team GB bosses, and it meant that Scott would have to leave. This caused a tremendous amount of conflict within the squad, and it affected Victoria's form. She also suffered an injury, and the next few years would be some of the toughest she would endure.

Victoria Pendleton poses in a glamour shoot. She's the 'pin-up' girl of cycling

The London 2012 Olympics were full of the kind of emotional highs and lows that Victoria had become used to. She was disqualified twice, won a gold and silver medal, and finally retired after a glittering career.

Alongside her cycling, Victoria has posed for dozens of glamour shoots in magazines, including in her underwear, a basque, in fishnet tights and a corset for different men's magazines. Her dark brown hair, blue eyes, red lips, and toned physique make her one of the most glamorous athletes of all time, and she has won as many fans for her looks as she has for her cycling. She now seems certain to develop her media career, and she has hinted that she would like to work in TV.

Victoria Pendleton's book is due to be released and she is also in line to earn £1m ($1.6m) a year from sponsorship and advertising after the success of the Olympics.


Victoria Pendleton boyfriend

Victoria Pendleton's boyfriend is Australian coach Scott Gardner. He is a sports scientist and used to work on Team GB with Victoria before the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

But Victoria and Scott broke strict rules banning relationships between coaches and athletes and fell in love. They went public with their 'taboo' relationship and he had to leave the team after the Olympics, which angered a lot of Victoria's fellow athletes and the other coaches, as they felt that Scott was a very highly-rated analyst whose services would be miss.

The couple stayed together - despite never even having been on a date before they admitted their feelings for each other. Scott helped to coach Victoria before London 2012, where she won a gold and silver medal, and he has since been invited back to work for Team GB.

Victoria Pendleton has now retired from professional cycling and plans to marry her boyfriend.

Victoria Pendleton and boyfriend Scott Gardner get into a cab to celebrate after the London 2012 Olympics